2015 to 2016 Glancing Back with a Focus: On Opportunities in the New Year

2015 to 2016 Glancing Back Opportunities in the New Year Picture

by Michael Brito 

I have been the MBE/DBE contributor to RISBJ for some time now and, during my time with the magazine, have received some wonderful feed-back from the readers! Every issue has allowed me to convey a sense of value and support to minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses throughout Rhode Island. Many of you have reached out to let me know that we are all in this together and that not one of us has ever had an easy “go” of it here in the Ocean State!

Some of us have been together from the birth of our dream: preparing business plans, obtaining funding, finding a direction through growth, hiring additional help, and reviewing real estate lease/purchases during ups and downs! Yes, I’ve been with most of you in an advisement position for whatever issues arose. If starting up and running a minority-owned and disadvantaged business in Rhode Island were an easy endeavor, the rewards wouldn’t be nearly as sweet! I thank you all for the feedback and loyalty in readership.

Well, that was then and this is now so what should our next move be? By now most of you should be finalizing whatever plans you may have to get ready for the long winter that Rhode Island is famous for and with that comes our taking out that business plan, blowing the dust off and really getting serious regarding what was accomplished and how we can set new targets. Look at your bonding limit, re-examine your insurance, go through all of your equipment and survey your facility, all of these areas need yearly appraisals for refinement. Remember my Father’s advice: “The best money you’ll ever make is the money you never spend!” Raise the bar, narrow your sight and focus in on new opportunities that are slightly out of reach!

In a recent meeting, I was reminded that small companies that thrive, and not just survive are the ones that have an interest in a variety of products and services, not just a niche market. Some of my construction clients also have an interest in real estate or have a road sweeping company. Some of my electrical service DBE’s have also acquired interest in excavation equipment, thereby offering alternate avenues of income. I am reminded of one such company that along with his material trucking business, also began offering container long hauls to off-set the winter slow-down associated with road work thereby providing income for twelve months instead of just nine! The point is that should the main food chain slow down for any reason, you have a backup plan (more on this in 2016).

As we glance back with a diligent look ahead, let’s remember that battles may be won or lost daily, but the war rages on! We must always keep in mind the importance of our vision and that is what will separate us, not just from larger companies, but from each other as well. We ran a wonderful workshop on image and what it means to project the right one when doing business with others. We also learned, the image we project to ourselves as proud MBE’s and DBE’s is the most important image, every minute of every day!

Staying positive isn’t always that easy (I know this very well having run a business in Rhode Island for many years) however, it isn’t impossible. There is negativity everywhere we look these days, my advice…don’t look! Provide yourself the opportunity to be happy with your company and its direction in 2016. Set new, lofty goals and stay focused on them. Give yourself and your staff every chance to achieve these goals in the New Year. Attend every training event possible. Whether it be an on-line webinar, professional development class, or an industry focused event or trade show –just go! Be the sponge of knowledge your company needs, surround yourself with positive people, associate with those that have achieved what you strive for, and never stop reaching. I know that I preach often regarding learning and its influence on success but it’s a proven path to achievement.

“85% of all successful entrepreneurs attribute their achievement to possessing an open mind to new and different ideas”, a sense of daring to differentiate one’s self from his/her competition is very important! A wise man once told me that the best investment we can ever make to advance our companies is the investment of learning!

In our state there are over 480 companies certified to do business as a MBE or DBE; whether it be construction, electrical, engineering, cleaning, etc. –you have a lot of “friends” out there! Stay sharp, see you on the job!

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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